Of course, she's only 18 months younger than I am, so she's not a baby... But she's MY little sister, so she's always gonna be my "baby sister." **grinz** Well, I only saw her make this once, so I don't remember all the stuff she put in (and had to wing it, once I got home) , but it's easy, it's delicious, and it fills up tummies in a VERY happy way!
Oh, yeah, and I try to bunch processes and their ingredients. I suggest that you read through the recipe and make your shopping list, and when you start making the meal, you can also cook things concurrently (like the rice and the beef mixture). It's ALWAYS a great idea to read through a new recipe carefully FIRST so you don't have any surprises.
Here we go:
- 1 package Zatarain's Spanish Rice Mix, cooked to package instructions *BUT* using 1 can of Ro-Tel HOT tomatoes (if you don't like spicy, just follow the regular directions with canned chpooed tomatoes)
- 1-2 lb LEAN ground beef
- 2 packets taco seasoning (if you have your own mix, use... mmmm... 1/2 - 2/3 cup, or more to taste)
- 1/2 cup (or more) sliced fresh banana peppers
- 1 can, about 7 oz., of grilled/smoked Mexican peppers
- 3 cups diced onions
- 3 TB minced fresh garlic
- 1 14oz. can black beans (or more), drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen corn
If you have good lean beef, you will NOT have to drain away fat. If you can only get 80% lean or less, make sure you brown the beef FIRST and then DRAIN OFF the fat, then continue with the recipe.
Anyway.... Brown the ground beef in a large skillet on medium heat. As it browns, add the onion, garlic, and all peppers. Make sure that, as the beef cooks, you keep an eye on it, break it up, and keep stirring... When the beef is mostly cooked, add the seasoning and keep stirring and breaking up the beef as the spices brown and get mixed in with the beef and onions. Frankly, I would say that at this stage, it is better to OVER season a bit.
Add the black beans and corn, and mix well, making sure everything is warmed through.
NOTE: I use 1 packet of Taco Bell seasoning, and a SALTLESS mix from Emeril Legasse, mixed haphazardly from this recipe (which is VERY worth your while... YUUUUUUMMMY!), and use it very generously.
OK, the rice is done, the beef is done... Now it's time to assemble the casserole. You will need a 13x9 pan, but it's going to be pretty full!
- about 18-20 corn tortillas, cut in half
- 1 19oz can enchilada sauce, with one smaller can in reserve, just in case (some people like more enchilada sauce, and I always think, better safe than sorry!)
- 4-6 cups shredded low-fat Mexican cheese mix, divided (reserve about 1 cup to top off the casserole)
Put about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of your casserole, and spread it to coat the bottom. Dip about 10 tortilla halves in enchilada sauce and layer them evenly on the bottom of the pan. Add the rice and spread it out evenly (you could mix the rice and beef and just split that mixture in half, if you want) over the tortillas, then sprinkle about half of the cheese over it (MINUS the 1 cup reserve, of course).
Use about HALF of the remaining tortillas (coated in enchilada sauce) to cover the rice, then spread the beef mixture evenly over that layer and sprinkle the other half (MINUS that reserve) over it.
Finish with the last set of tortilla halves (again, coated in enchilada sauce), and then pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the casserole (I would say that you shouldn't use more than, oh, 1 cup, to top things off), cover with foil, and place it in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes.
Now, actually, at this point (before oven cooking), you could stuff it in the fridge or freezer to hold for later. If you choose to do so, make sure you defrost it and bring it to room temp (-ish...). You will have to add time to baking (hm.... thawed casserole MAY take an hour???), so start checking at about 40 minutes.
Once the casserole is hot throughout, uncover it, sprinkle the last bit of cheese over the top, and finish baking for 10-15 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes (if you can - but it's easier to cut if you are patient) and serve! You can add some sour cream if you like, or pout a little bit of good salsa on the top.